Located beneath the gluteal (butt) muscles is the piriformis muscle, it’s just a little muscle with a lot of complaints!. If you have a sore butt, or hip and leg, this may be the cause of it and can literally be a pain in the ass!
The piriformis muscle laterally rotates and stabilizes your hip. If you participate in any running sport you use this muscle a lot.
If you are having issues with your hips, knees and back check with your trainer or coach to observe your running form during your sport.
It isn’t just a runner’s issue either, if you are an information worker who spends hours in a chair, your muscles can shorten up and you will benefit from these stretches too.
It hurts, now what?
As always check things out with your doctor to make sure it isn’t anything else. Piriformis stretches work if the muscle is tight you need to stretch it out, and stretching is also a preventative measure as well.
Different Piriformis Muscle stretch’s
Piriformis Chair Stretch:
This is the simplest to do, do anywhere, at work, at home, on the bus kind of stretch, and just don’t look back at the people starting at you.
Place your right ankle on your left knee. Gently press down on the inside of the knee. Leaning forward slowly until you feel a mild stretch in the hips. Then hold for 20 or 30 seconds, relax, and do the other leg.
Lying Piriformis Stretch:
This one you can do laying on your back on the floor. Cross the left leg over the right, with the left ankle resting on the right knee. Gently grab your left leg (under the thigh) and lift your left foot off the floor assisting it with your hands. If this is difficult to reach you can use a towel. Hold 20 seconds or 30 seconds, and do it again for the other side.
Prone Piriformis Stretch:
This stretch is not for beginners; it uses your body weight for the stretch and can be awkward to get into and out of this pose.
Sit on the floor and cross one leg in front of you and have the other leg behind you. Lean slowly forward onto the leg crossed in front so you can feel the piriformis stretching.
Hold for 20 – 30 sec. Sit up straight for a stretch in your opposite hip or if you want lean slightly back for more of a hip stretch. Switch legs and do the same for the other side.
A word on stretching;
Always warm up before doing stretching exercises.
Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up may result in injury. A warm up can be as simple as just 5 – 10 minutes of walking in place. Stretching after you keeps muscles fit and is an effective cool down and helps prevent muscle soreness. If you feel unusual or sharp pain during the piriformis stretch then stop.